Links Daily Devotional

Just Supposing

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…. You ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will do this or do that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV)

I am not today where I thought I was “supposed to be,” nor where I’d ever want to be. But whoever said we are allowed every choice?

In late December, The Cauldron/Sports Illustrated published a grief-filled, glory-giving piece by CBS golf writer Kyle Porter. Earlier in the month Porter and his wife Jen had lost a daughter 36 weeks into pregnancy. They were told what Porter called “two words that change the rest of your life…. No heartbeat.” It was the kind of hurt few of us will ever know.

For all the supposed-tos we try to implement, asking for prayer is one that must be there.The Porters are engaged at The Village Church in Dallas. In reflecting on their own loss, Porter quoted his pastor, Matt Chandler, who has said, “Your life can change with one phone call. You’re not exempt.” Chandler knows. In 2009, a tumor the size of a golf ball was found on his brain.

That leads to where I am today. My steps—more accurately, my car, from 150 miles away—have brought me to Stanford Medical Center. I am here for chemotherapy. I was hoping never to have to write about this. Just before Christmas it was confirmed that the tracheal deviation I had noticed around Thanksgiving was caused by a large mass in my neck and chest. For the first two months of investigation, all signs pointed toward benignity. But all signs also showed a tumor threaded around some important structures in my neck. Doctors were as impressed—seriously!—as they were confounded. Finally, a February biopsy found that there was slow-growing cancer in this mass. It needed to come out sooner rather than later.

Today is the second day of what will be many weeks or more of treatment, both by radiation and by surgery. Anticipating this, a few of the Links Fellowships who have been aware of my condition have been praying, along with the leadership at my church and our small group. For all the supposed-tos we try to implement, this asking for prayer is one that must be there. A good patient seeks treatment, and for those in the faith that includes taking up residence at the prayer clinic, so to speak (James 5:13-15).

I have ideas about how much I will be doing in these times (I read that Matt Chandler preached throughout his 18 months of radiation and chemotherapy). Still, that too would be supposing. Instead, I’ll wake up each day and do what God strengthens me to do. That’s really how we should all be living, whether in sickness or in health. Sometimes, though, God needs to bring us to the brink to make us desperate enough to depend on him daily, hourly, and even more often than that.

Jeff Hopper
March 29, 2016
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